Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Open-source woes

Forgive me for being remiss in my postings. I've been tied up with work lately and I've also started tinkering with my other site. I even spent a good deal of the weekend evaluating Open-source CMS software which came free with my web hosting. I figured it would save me a lot of time and effort if I just used an out-of-the-box webapp instead of me building a website from ground up. Alas, it turned out that it was not as easy as point-click-install-login-put content-publish. It was more of point-click-install, scratch head and ask yourself why the page displays an error, go to the site and skim through the documentation, search in the forums for any discussion on the problem encountered, try out each of the suggestions until you hit one that solves your problem, then login. By the time I've reached the administrator area, my stress level was already so high, I decided to close the browser and rest for a while.

When I decided to go back to the computer, my troubles started all over again. My site wouldn't let me log in; it just keeps saying 'Access denied'. At first I thought I just forgot the password so I clicked on the 'Forgot password' link and received an email containing a link that will give me one time access to my site so I can reset my password. I did just that and when I tried to login, same thing happened. Back to scouring the forums I go and I discovered that my problem was more browser-related. I had to change IE7's Privacy Settings to 'Override automatic cookie handling' and 'Always allow session cookies' and only then was I able to login. I figured this would be a hassle for my users who have already upgraded to IE7. But since I don't have much choice, I'm hoping a system requirements info saying "This site works best with Mozilla Firefox and IE6" would suffice for now.

I'm not new to open-source software and web applications, in fact they are widely used where I work. Yet, I still had a difficult time setting one up for my site. The lesson of the story is that nothing in life ever really comes free, even open-source.

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